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Camilla hops on a London bus

The Duchess of Cornwall left her chauffeur driven car behind and hopped onto a London bus during her last day in Mexico.

Camilla boarded the red routemaster during a visit to the industrial northern city of Monterrey then joked "are we going to zoo?"

Seeing a London bus under grey skies after a downpour, the duchess probably felt the city was a home from home.

The number 7 bus - emblazoned with the route London to Monterrey - took her a short distance across Fundidora Park, built on the site of industrial works and now home to a museum showcasing the heavy industry of the area.

Travelling with Camilla was Gretta Salinas de Medina, wife of the governor of the local state of Nuevo Léon, Rodrigo Medina.

They stepped off at a canal in the park and took a pleasure cruise around a series of waterways which featured cultural performances of dances and musicians along its route.

At one point when they hit choppy waters Camilla pulled a face as if a little concerned.

The routemaster was restored to its former glory by plastic surgeon Angel Tobar, 50, who bought it for his artist wife Marissa, 49, to use as a mobile gallery.

He said: "This is the first time the bus has been used and it was used to take Camilla on a trip - so that's a nice way to begin."

Camilla sat on a makeshift seat in the bus built in 1948, as all the rest had been removed to make the routemaster into a mobile gallery.

Mr Tobar bought and restored the London bus for around 125,000 US dollars (£100,000) just over three years ago and spent the last two having it rebuilt.

He said: "My wife found it on the internet, it was in Arizona. It was taken from London in the late 1960s and it was originally owned by the man who bought London bridge.

"He didn't want it any more and sold it to someone else and that person sold it to us."

When Camilla first arrived with Charles at the industrial museum they were greeted by a group of performers, Ballet Folkloric Monterrey, who wore traditional costumes from the state - Stetson hats and tasselled jackets for the men and long flowing skirts for the women.

Inside a former steel foundry the royal couple saw displays showcasing local produce, dishes and crafts, from ornately decorated saddles to a traditional breakfast meal of eggs, dried beef, and onion.

The Governor of the local state of Nuevo Leon welcomed the prince and duchess in a speech and Charles spoke a few words in Spanish in return: "Thank you for your kind welcome, Governor. My wife and I are delighted to be here in Nuevo Leon for the first time, on the final day of our visit to Mexico."

As Charles and Camilla's four-day tour of Mexico came to a close, Duncan Taylor, Britain's Ambassador to Mexico, said the royal couple had been well received.

He said: "The crowds of people we saw in all the regions we visited prove that there is real affection for their royal highnesses here in Mexico.

"They have visited iconic places that represent the rich diversity of this country but they have also taken so much time to meet members of the community.

"I am confident that this royal visit will give a significant boost to the relationship between our countries. A historical relationship that has been characterised by mutual respect, co-operation and friendship."


From Belfast Telegraph